COLOMBIA: Expanding Hydrocarbon Frontiers
Colombian Oil and Gas Sector
Colombian Oil and Gas Sector

Colombia is one of six Latin American countries with significant energy resources and future potential. Proven oil reserves are estimated at 1.5 billion barrels, and natural gas reserves at 7.3 trillion cubic feet. Oil is the country’s largest foreign cash producer, representing 26% of its total exports.

Opportunities offered by the Colombian energy sector have attracted foreign investment from leading multinational energy companies that operate in Colombia either independently or through joint ventures with Ecopetrol, the tate-owned oil company.

The country’s oil industry is highly sophisticated and diversified. Besides exploration and production companies, Colombia has two refineries and a well established petrochemical manufacturing sector, oil & gas service companies, advisory and consulting companies, and other key elements of the industry value chain. Almost one dozen academic institutions offer specialized programs in geosciences and petroleum engineering. Furthermore, Colombia’s long history of oil and gas exploration and discovery has contributed to the development of a large base of experienced and skilled oil industry professionals.

Colombia became a net oil exporter in the 1980s following important discoveries in the Cańo Limón, Cusiana and Cupiagua fields. The country’s oil production grew from 126,000 bpd in 1980 to 816,000 bpd in 1999, and oil exports peaked at $4.5 billion in 2000. Production has remained essentially flat at 525,000 to 540,000 bpd since 2003.

The agency responsible for managing Colombia’s hydrocarbon resources, the Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH), also has an ambitious investment plan for improving the geological knowledge base and understanding of the country and to encourage exploration of the significant remaining hydrocarbon potential, particularly in the lesser-explored areas. To this end, during 2005 and 2006 alone, the ANH spent over US$ 130 million in the acquisition of new seismic data and new geological.

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